The smell of sawdust and machine oil hit me the moment I stepped in the door. Like a bright welcome sign at the airport with your name on it, it silently claims "You found me! You're safe and welcome here." It's only practice that allows me to detect the(more) sharp twang of the orange scrub hand-soap, the smooth chemical breeze of cigar smoke clinging to the air, and the gentle buzz of electricity waiting for a power switch to be pressed.
Eckard doesn't look up from his task. He knows that it's me again, likely watched as I walked down the lane and made my way to the porch. Instead he examines his tool. It's dark metal, looking a lot like a sharpened, one-sided screwdriver. The wooden handle is covered in worn leather, signs of oil and pressure discoloring the cover in the exact size of Eckard's hands.
Apparently satisfied with what he saw in the tool, he quickly runs a hand over his short, gray beard and licks his tongue over his teeth behind his wrinkled lips. That finished, he presses the red button.
The machine in front of him wedged a piece of wood between its two spindles. Upon Eckard's supply of power, the machine clicks into life and spins the wood at impossible speeds, blurring the block into a whirl of dark brown movement. Eckard grips the tool in one hand, using the other behind it to apply pressure, and presses the sharp tip against the spinning wood. Strips of wood peel off of the block, curving the blur into a vase, or a bowl, or some other rounded project of Eckard's.
A breeze slides its way through the cracks along the screen door, stirring the sawdust as the machine hums and I watch, hypnotized and awed.(less)
Confusion washed down the back of my mind, a single thought now formed. Who are you?
"Hey," She said, eye's pinched, burning a hole straight through mine, "who do you think you are? I've been waiting for 20 minutes, and then you come in like it's nothing, order,(more) and get your meal before me!"
I was almost positive the lady was mad, though how this was my fault I did not know. "Sorry? I think? I'm..."
"I don't care, pay for my meal. Then we're even." The girl said, hands folded. A devious smile waited for my answer. Behind her a line of hunger formed, silent groans wavered in the air casting judgement on the people before them.
My mind trickled, still damp from before. I hadn't noticed it, but the lady's hair shimmered like the sun, her skin was soft, and the blue dress she wore all combined so she bloomed like spring. A small leather bag accented the woman like a petal, someone's name etched on it.
money slipped from my wallet towards the cashier, who accepted it. "Thank you, please have a seat now." The cashier said, a single clear thought provided to my bewilderment.
I snatched my food and sat down where I could still spy on the girl, she was alone. Her bag sat across from her on the table, propped so we had a clear view of it. my infatuation piqued, I prepared myself for the following conversation.
I swept off any fear clung to my face, and maneuvered towards the empty table. Disappointment consolidated me before Intuition shoved him aside, averting my eyes up to see the girl's hair billow in the wind as she sprinted for the bus.
In front of me sat a leather bag, one word etched into it.
hello darkness my old friend. sleepless nights have left me wondering about things not worth dwelling on. i tell myself its only going to be like the last time. and i can feel it against my skin, tasting like freedom and tears and bad decisions and i'm drunk on(more) it now. and then i can't talk anymore and let it eat me whole. (less)
Maybe no one ever really talked like that. Except in the movies. There was a time, though, at least in the pop culture imagination, when every long haul trucker wore flannel plaid and 501's and one of those foam and mesh John Deere hats And(more) They Weren't Trying To Be Ironic. It was who they really were.
And they had a CB radio in the cab, so that they could keep each other company during endless hours of driving. Before 5 hour energy shots, before dashboard navigation, before dvd players flipped down out of the ceiling. Just coffee and cigarettes and the voices of other travelers to get you down the road.
"What's your handle?" one might ask of the ether.
"Leather." might be the reply.
I guess a leather handle would be fine. Maybe if it were hand tooled. Maybe in an antiqued saddle leather, with a little filigree work. I could be okay with that.
People could pick me up and carry me around and put me back down, and the handling would just make me more supple. Deepen my lustre. Each time I changed hands I would become more valuable, more beautiful.
Anything would be better than beige canvas. Beige canvas just starts out boring, and gets dirty with age. Beige canvas is cheap and functional. It's better than nylon, I suppose. That would be worse.
But if beige canvas tries really hard, can it ever become saddle leather? Should it even aspire to? It's like alchemy. And who doesn't like alchemy? Zeppelins, top hats, fog, and alchemy.
Just don't smoke near the zeppelin, or get lost in the fog.
Unless you want to.
There could be good reasons for each. Maybe they're the first step in the alchemical recipe.